First Earnings Report for Thorsten Heins: Major Layoffs, Revenue and Shipments Below Expectations

The new chief executive officer of Research In Motion, Thorsten Heins, conducted his first earnings report today. The RIM CEO has been climbing an uphill battle, with defeatism growing to deafening decibels from analysts, investors, and consumers during the past month.  For example, BGC analyst Colin Gillis wrote that RIM “is on a declining trajectory and there is little reason to think this is going to change. … Customers view the brand as yesterday’s phone, and developers are not building for the platform.”

Notes from the financial earnings report and inside sources:

• RIM is laying off an indisclosed number of staff, including high-level employees, according to The Globe and Mail: “Lots of high level people within RIM were let go today. Quite a few. Big shake up.”

• After deep plunges on RIM stock during the past few quarterly reports, shares for the company were halted during the report.

• The Street expected 4.5 million new subscribers. RIM gained only 2 million new subscribers.

• The Street expected roughly $4.5 billion revenue and about $0.82 earnings per share. REPORT: Revenue of $4.2 billion, down 19% from last quarter; $0.80 per share.

• The Street expected approximately 12 million smartphones to be shipped. REPORT: 11.1 million shipments, down 21% from third quarter.

• RIM says that David Yach will be retiring from his role as CTO of software after 13 years with the company. And after four years with the company, Jim Rowan, COO of global operations has decided to pursue other interests.

• RIM says it “expects continued pressure on revenue and earnings throughout fiscal 2013,” citing factors such as “ongoing weakness in the company’s U.S. smartphone business [and] increasing competitive pressure in the company’s international markets.”

• Jim Balsillie, with RIM for 20 years as co-CEO, has resigned from his position as a Director on the Board: “As I complete my retirement from RIM, I’m grateful for this remarkable experience and for the opportunity to have worked with outstanding professionals who helped turn a Canadian idea into a global success,” said Jim. “On behalf of the Board and everyone at RIM, I would like to thank Jim for his 20 years of service to RIM,” said Barb Stymiest, Chair of RIM’s Board of Directors.

• RIM shipped 1.3 million PlayBook tablets in in fiscal 2011.

“I have assessed many aspects of RIM’s business during my first 10 weeks as CEO,” said Thorsten Heins, President & CEO of Research In Motion. “I have confirmed that the company has substantial strengths that can be further leveraged to improve our financial performance, including RIM’s global network infrastructure, a strong enterprise offering and a large and growing base of more than 77 million subscribers.

“I’m very excited about the prospects for the BlackBerry 10 platform, which is on track for the latter part of calendar 2012. Notwithstanding these strengths and opportunities, the business challenges we face over the next several quarters are significant and I am taking the necessary steps to address them.

“In addition to delivering the BlackBerry 10 platform and refocusing resources on RIM’s key opportunities, such as BlackBerry Mobile Fusion and new integrated service offerings, we will also drive greater operational performance through a variety of initiatives including increased management accountability and process discipline. In parallel, we are undertaking a comprehensive review of strategic opportunities including partnerships and joint ventures, licensing, and other ways to leverage RIM’s assets and maximize value for our stakeholders.”

Full release can be found here.

Photo: CTV